2015’s been an interesting year for new music. I’ve dipped in and out of plenty of new albums this year but there are about five I’ve regularly put on repeat.
Courtney Barnett’s ‘Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit’ is one of those albums. Essentially it’s a brilliant update of that early 90’s slacker rock sound I love so much. Lyrically clever and lathered in charisma, it’s a real gem.
Roots Manuva’s ‘Bleeds’ is a stonker too – for me it’s almost the match of 2001’s ‘Run Come Save Me’ and eclectic with it. I still think he’s underrated. If there’s a better British rapper dead or alive I’d like to hear about him. Listen to ‘One Thing’ and tell me I’m wrong.
I’m a big fan of Melbourne’s King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, and their latest opus, ‘Paper Mâché Dream Balloon’ is a wonderful thing. Caught somewhere between a 1970’s kids TV show soundtrack and a gently psychedelic jazz-folk dream, it has an air of perfectly executed silliness and magic that made me recall the first time I heard the Small Faces‘ ‘Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake’.
It’s become the norm that when Sufjan Stevens releases an album it’s gets swamped in critical acclaim and tickles the hearts and minds of anyone who hears it. ‘Carrie & Lowell’ is no different. The songs on the album were inspired by the death of his mother but it’s anything but morose. It’s a beautiful and calming experience – a late night gem.
The one album I’ve truly loved above all others this year though is Jim O’Rourke’s, ‘Simple Songs’. I’ve always loved O’Rourke when he’s in his classic singer-songwriter mode. Even his most paired-back stuff is filled with layers and nuances, wry lyrics and wit, but there’s some songs on his latest album that are, for want of a better phrase, so deeply nourishing, ‘Simple Songs’ surpasses even the likes of ‘Eureka’ and ‘Insignificance’. It’s my favourite album of the year by a distance.
There’s some other choice picks below too, like Little Wings’s ‘Explains’, and it’s playful, slightly tipsy Bonnie Prince Billy-esque shenanigans, and Kool Keith’s return to form with producer L’Orange, ‘Time? Astonishing!’. 2015 may not have been a truly classic year for music but it’s provided me with a fair few eclectic treats.
Check out my top twenty list below and tell me what you think:
Jim O’Rourke – Simple Songs
Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
Roots Manuva – Bleeds
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Paper Mâché Dream Balloon
Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell
Little Wings – Explains
L’Orange & Kool Keith – Time? Astonishing!
Alex G – Beach Music
Kamasi Washington – The Epic
Ratatat – Magnifique
My Morning Jacket – The Waterfall
Dungen – Allas Sak
Car Seat Headrest – Teens Of Style
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love
Lou Barlow – Brace The Wave
C Duncan – Architect
Blur – The Magic Whip
Bill Ryder Jones – West Kirby County Primary
Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly
Dr Dre – Compton